As the presidential campaign heats up, everyone is talking about issues: gay marriage, foreign policy, censorship, indecency. But despite these debates, Pink thinks not enough people in her generation are speaking out and trying to change the world. She'd like to see that change, she said, and she hopes her fans will follow her example, even if she doesn't agree with their opinions.
"I'm so disappointed in people right now," she said. "We don't protest anymore. That's why I've always said I missed my time. I was supposed to be here in the '60s, you know, when people stood up and were educated and political and had opinions and weren't afraid to share them and weren't afraid that their song was going to get taken off the radio if they had an opinion. I figure if people are listening to what I have to say for whatever amount of time that they will, I might as well say something important."
Pink's not afraid of her songs getting taken off the radio right now. (Although her next single is still being chosen, she's plunging forward with plans for her next release, a live DVD filmed on Friday at the Manchester, England, date of her current European tour.) But she is afraid of what will happen if more young people don't join the national dialogue. At the top of her list of issues that need to be addressed, she said, is what she calls the erosion of women's rights represented by the federal late-term abortion ban. So the day after President George W. Bush signed that ban into law — the day she was scheduled to play the MTV Europe Music Awards in Edinburgh, Scotland, she taped on a "pro-choice" sign on her hat to wear to the ceremony. This move earned Pink a spot on the national pro-choice organization Choice USA's "Top 30 under 30" activists list, for not missing "an opportunity for advocacy when she sees one."
"I decided that night I was doing something when I'd be having photographs taken of me," she said. "And I was just enraged, because the law is so broadly written that even rape victims and AIDS-infected patients ... can't get an abortion. She can die [if she has a child]? She [still] can't get an abortion. That just doesn't make any sense to me. It's like we're going backwards here."
Though it hasn't gotten as much press as, say, the issue of gay marriage, efforts to overturn the federal abortion ban are moving forward. Three lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, and the Center for Reproductive Rights in federal courts in New York, San Francisco and Lincoln, Nebraska, went to trial on Monday.
"We American women are very lucky," Pink said. "We do have a lot of rights. We can dress however we want, we can say whatever we want. But I want to see more of that. I want to see more women executives, I want to see more women playing instruments, I want to see more women running magazines and running TV shows. I want to see a woman president in my lifetime."
While she's recognized as a feminist advocate, Pink is perhaps more well known as a champion of animal-rights issues, firing off letters to Vogue to ask the magazine to stop promoting fur in its pages, to Britain's Prince William to stop hunting, and to Las Vegas illusionists Siegfried & Roy to allow their elephant to retire to a sanctuary (see "Pink Asks Vogue To Shed Fur From Its Pages," "Pink Chides Prince William For Hunting, Asks Him To Call Her" and "Pink Urges Siegfried & Roy To Let Elephant Pack Its Trunk"). When Pink was growing up, a neighbor taught her how to rescue animals and nurse baby birds back to health, which she said was a major factor in opening her eyes. Since then, she's joined People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, for which she's currently developing a new campaign.
"I just love animals," Pink said, "and they really can't speak for themselves. I understand cavemen wearing fur because they needed to stay alive, but I don't understand why those with a lot of money and a lot of options for clothes wear fur, you know?
"But I have very conflicted views on everything. I'm a proud member of PETA and I got leather boots on my feet, you know what I'm saying?"